VIENNA - The Grand Central Mall has announced the winners of the eighth annual Earning for Learning program.
The 2012 winners are:
* First Place, public school, Neale Elementary, $5,000
* First Place, private school, St. Mary's Catholic of Marietta, $5,000
* Second place, St. John Central Grade School, $3,000
* Third place, Parkersburg Christian School, $2,000
* Fourth place, Parkersburg Catholic High School, $1,000
Ninety-eight schools from 13 counties in West Virginia and Ohio participated in the program where shoppers were encouraged to show their receipts at guest services to register points for their school. Every dollar spent from Aug. 19 to Sept. 22 counted as one point.
Shoppers were also presented with opportunities to earn bonus points through specific category purchases, such as shoes, jeans, jackets or coats, and gift cards. These opportunities were announced through the mall's social media efforts and website. In addition, shoppers were periodically encouraged to make category specific donations, such as jackets or coats, in order to earn extra points for their school. Donations were presented to local nonprofit agencies via the United Way.
For the first time, the mall offered two first place prizes to a public school and to a private school. Second through fourth places were determined from the combined public and private sectors. Rankings have been calculated based on a point per student ratio, with all schools beginning with a minimum enrollment of 100. Every K-12 school in the area was eligible to participate in the contest and was not required to register.
Schools can use the prizes to suit their needs. In past years, schools have been able to purchase computer equipment, playground equipment, fund school field trips and pay bills, to name a few.
This year's combined cash prizes of $16,000 brings the program total to $152,000 since its inception.